Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
You live with PMS symptoms because you are a strong, stoic woman, but did you know that PMS does not have to be a fact of life every month? Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), affects 75 – 90% of women at some point, making it very common, but it is certainly not a sign of good health and hormonal balance. PMS is defined as a collection of symptoms that typically occur for one to two weeks before menstruation, followed by improvement for 2-3 weeks and may include the following:
- Bloated abdomen
- Crying spells
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Emotional hypersensitivity
- Excessive hunger
- Food cravings
- Headaches or migraines
- Low energy
- Joint pains
- Low libido
- Mood swings
- Tender, swollen breasts
- Suicidal thoughts
- Water retention
- Weight gain
Naturopathic Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Address the root cause of the problem; don’t settle for just easing symptoms. PMS is caused by nutrient deficiencies, blood sugar instability, hormonal imbalances and/or hormone fluctuations throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- Plastics, pollutants and animal fats can contain hormones or hormone-like chemicals. To avoid them:
- Eat lots of organic fruit and vegetables
- Eat organic meats and dairy products (if desired)
- Store food and drinks in glass containers
- Avoid petroleum-based personal care products like baby oil, foundation and lipstick
- B vitamins help the liver metabolize estrogen, support the adrenals (your stress glands) and help produce serotonin, a mood-elevating hormone.
- Vitex, also known as Chastetree berry, has a progesterone enhancing effect that offsets excess estrogen that can cause PMS. I do not recommend self-medicating with herbs; seek advice from a qualified naturopathic doctor.
- Improve the liver’s ability to detoxify and eliminate excess hormones and all toxins (not through the kits found at health food stores!).
- Stabilize blood sugar levels through exercise, healthy diet and supplements like chromium, vanadium and cinnamon.
- Magnesium helps relax muscle tension and supports healthy serotonin production. Serotonin is a mood-elevating neurotransmitter that can help you feel more upbeat.
- Fish oil and evening primrose oil can help balance prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins can have an inflammatory or an anti-inflammatory effect, the key is a healthy balance of essential fatty acids.
These are just a few of the many means that I use as a naturopathic doctor to normalize hormones and ensure month-long health and happiness. Book an appointment here or call the office for more information at 416-481-0222.
PMS & Natural Treatment Research
Khayat S, Fanaei H, Kheirkhan M, Moghadam Z, Kasaeian A, Javadimehr M. Curcumin attenuates the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2015: 23(3):318-24.
Samadi Z, Taghian F, Valiani M. The effects of 8 weeks of regular aerobic exercise on the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in non-athlete girls. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2013; 18(1):14-9.
● After 8 weeks of aerobic training (three 60-min sessions per week), mean scores of PMS and symptoms declined significantly
Vitex agnus castus:
Vitex agnus castus extract in women with premenstrual syndrome was found to decrease symptom severity.
Source: Phytomedicine. 2012 Nov 15;19(14):1325-31. Epub 2012 Sep 28.
Vitex agnus castus extract was found to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment for the relief of mild to moderate PMS symptoms.
Source: Acta Med Iran. 2012;50(2):101-6.
In 7/8 trials with premenstrual syndrome patients, Vitex extracts were found to be superior to placebo, pyridoxine, and magnesium oxide at dealing with the symptoms.
Source: Planta Med. 2012 Nov 7.
In a systematic review, V. angus castus (common name: chastetree), was proven to be a safe and effective treatment for PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (#PMDD).
Source: Vitex agnus castus for premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder: a systematic review. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2017 Dec;20(6):713-719.
Evening Primrose Oil:
Current evidence suggests that oral evening primrose oil is likely ineffective for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome.
Source: American Family Physician, Volume 80, Issue 12, pages 1405-1408, December 2009.
A study found that supplementation with magnesium and vitamin B6 led to the greatest decrease in PMS symptoms.
Source: Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 401-405, December 2010.
Taking a daily omega-3 supplement led to a reduction in PMS symptoms including decreased severity and duration of depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and bloating.
Source: Complementary Therapies in Medicine Jan 2013 (In press).
Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was found to decrease the severity of depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and bloating in individuals with PMS. Source: Complement Ther Med. 2013 Jun;21(3):141-6
Low dietary intake of zinc has been identified as a possible risk factor for the development of PMS.
Source: Am. J. Epidemiol. (2013) doi: 10.1093/aje/kws363
Low dietary intake of iron has been identified as a possible risk factor for the development of PMS.
Source: Am. J. Epidemiol. (2013) doi: 10.1093/aje/kws363
Supplementation with chamomile extract was found to be more effective at reducing the intensity of emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome than mefenamic acid. Source: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice October 2013
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here may not apply precisely to your individual situation. Diagnostic and therapeutic choices must always be tailored to the individual patient’s circumstances, and consultation with a licensed naturopathic physician should be undertaken before following any of the treatment strategies suggested in this web site.